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Nasri with Fairuz in Rings for Sale
Nasri Shamseddine: A Short Biography
His complete name is Nasreddin Moustapha Shamesedin. He was a major figure in Fairuz's works. Born in the village of Joune (in the southern part of the Chouf Mountain) in 1927, Nasri was a minor player when the Rahbanis launched the Lebanese Popular Troupe in the late fifties. Initially, he was overshadowed by the presence of Wadih al Safi, a major artist of Lebanon and the Middle East.
Wadih left the Rahbanis in 1961 to go on a solo career and also to express his disagreement with Assi Rahbani who insisted on orchestrating the minor details and preventing Wadih from freelance during the shows with his singing style. (Wadih tended to go on with his songs over the prescribed time and to "play around" with the tune that Assi thought to be perfect). Nasri was the best replacement for Wadih.
Nasri was chosen not because he looked like Wadih (round with almost no hair), but because he understood music and had superior vocals. Quickly he became a favourite with the public, playing the roles of the village head (al Mokhtar), the town policeman, the respectable member of the community, etc. He appeared in every Fairuz show since 1961 until the civil war in 1975. His last participation was in 1979 in Petra. He died in 1983.
Nasri left an important collection of solo songs that are very popular in Lebanon. He published several albums with the label Voix de l'Orient. In
tribute, the label published a "Best Of" in 1998 that featured 24 of Nasri's hits, including Tallou es Siyadi.
Nasri played in all three Fairuz motion pictures: as the town guard and Fairuz's father in Bint al Hares (in fact the title of the film referred to him" Daughter of the Town Guard); as the village head (mokhtar) and a revolutionary (Safar Barlak); and as a mokhtar and Fairuz's uncle in Bayah al Khawatem. It was his dream to star in films. That's why early in his career he traveled to Egypt. First he settled in Alexanderia for six months where he worked for a while with Esmaeel Yassin and Mohamed Abdelmoutaleb troupes. Then he moved to Cairo in order to work in the cinema. But he didn't manage to and then returned to Lebanon where he, one day and while he was eating beans, read that the Near East radio station wanted talented people to join the station's choir. He met Sabri Sharif and was hired. Later he met with The Rahbani Brothers who gave him roles in their sketches and then gave him his first song 'Ba7elefak Ya Tayr Belfour'aa'
His albums are accessible through every record distributor thanks to the Voix de l'Orient strong marketing. We know of three CDs by Nasri alone that one can purchase. However, these CDs miss the musical dialogues between him and the other artists, and the popular Lebanese musings he contributed in Fairuz's shows (mijana, ataba, etc.). One can only appreciate Nasri's contribution by following his work in the complete recordings of Fairuz's operas.
Most of Nasri's Biography was written by Kamal Dib